Goal 3: Good health and well-being

A girl receives a dose of oral polio vaccine in Somalia. UNICEF photo

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all

Since the creation of the Millennium Development Goals there have been historic achievements in reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and tackling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases. In 15 years, the number of people newly infected by HIV each year has dropped from 3.1 million to 2 million and over 6.2 million lives were saved from malaria. Since 1990, maternal mortality fell by 45 percent, and worldwide there has been an over 50 percent decline in preventable child deaths globally.  

Despite this incredible progress, AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, and 22 million people living with HIV are not accessing life-saving antiretroviral therapy. New HIV infections continue to rise in some locations and in populations that are typically excluded or marginalised.

Chronic and catastrophic disease remains one of the main factors that push households from poverty into deprivation. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) impose a large burden on human health worldwide. Currently, 63% of all deaths worldwide stem from NCDs – chiefly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. The cumulative economic losses to low- and middle-income countries from the four diseases are estimated to surpass US$ 7 trillion by 2025. Additionally, there continues to be underinvestment in the social circumstances and environmental factors affecting health. The job on HIV and health is far from done.

Recognizing the interdependence of health and development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an ambitious, comprehensive plan of action for people, planet and prosperity and for ending the injustices that underpin poor health and development outcomes.

SDG 3 aspires to ensure health and well-being for all, including a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030. It also aims to achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all. Supporting research and development for vaccines is an essential part of this process as well as expanding access to affordable medicines.

Promoting health and well-being is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 3.

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